Like a divine consolation for our collective heartache, the world was gifted with an absurd volume of beautiful new things to listen to in 2016. But epochal new albums from the likes of Radiohead, Anohni, Frank Ocean, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, and the sisters Knowles (to name just a few) only told a small part of the story, as much of the year’s best new music was Trojan horse-ed into our lives via the movies.
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Conner4Real wrote pop songs as catchy and profound as anything by The Weeknd, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling exchanged a series of bittersweet ballads, and a Polynesian princess followed her voice over the horizon. But it was the instrumental pieces that cut the deepest, as many of the best new films were proudly inextricable from their scores. “Moonlight” and “La La Land,” currently dominating the awards circuit, are just two examples of movies that refused to wear their music as mere ornamentation; they demand to be watched with your ears.
Here are the 10 best scores of 2016. Feel free to click the Spotify links and listen along while you read.